Rum Cake from Scratch – The Best Ever!

Rum cake from scratch – there’s no pudding or cake mix involved and it’s even more delicious than the cake mix version! Can be made with all-purpose flour or with whole wheat pastry flour for a 100% whole grain version.

Rum cake from scratch – there's no pudding or cake mix involved and it's even more delicious than the cake mix version! Can be made with all-purpose flour or with whole wheat pastry flour for a 100% whole grain version.

The special thing about this rum cake, other than being the most awesome rum cake ever, is that you don’t need a bunch of processed junk to make it. Most rum cakes call for cake mix and pudding mix, neither of which I really want to use.

I remember when I moved to Germany, where we don’t have the same cake and pudding mixes, 6 years ago and spent hours looking for a rum cake recipe from scratch. No luck.

Totally from Scratch Rum Cake – there's no pudding or cake mix involved and it's even more delicious than the cake mix version! Can be made with all-purpose flour or with whole wheat pastry flour for a 100% whole grain version. With a how-to recipe video.

But Alejandra from Always Order Dessert has solved that problem with her rum cake from scratch! Now the whole world can enjoy rum cake. :)

The original recipe calls for 1 cup of homemade pudding mix. The recipe for the pudding mix yields 2 1/2 cups and since I didn’t want any pudding mix left over, I scaled down the pudding recipe to what was needed just for the rum cake and it worked perfectly!

I also wanted to try subbing coconut oil for the vegetable oil in the original but I chickened out and used olive oil. Since coconut oil is solid at room temperature (at least in cold winter kitchens), I was worried that it’d make the cake too firm.

If you taste the batter and can taste the olive oil, don’t panic! The olive taste bakes away, or perhaps it’s just all the rum in the syrup that totally covers it up.

Totally from Scratch Rum Cake – there's no pudding or cake mix and it's even more delicious than the cake mix version! Can be made with all-purpose flour or with whole wheat pastry flour for a 100% whole grain version. With  a how-to recipe video.

The first time I made this rum cake, I made it for a birthday party that I wasn’t even going to, and it smelled so unbelievably amazing that I had to cut into it. And then I cut into it some more.

And then we just cut the cake into slices, made some whoopsie-I-ate-most-of-the-cake-brownies and Mr. Texanerin brought a few cake pieces to the party.

This cake is so ridiculously boozy. Some folks don’t like a strong alcohol taste in their goodies. Not me. I want my cake to be swimming in booze.

Totally from Scratch Rum Cake – there's no pudding or cake mix involved and it's even more delicious than the cake mix version! Can be made with all-purpose flour or with whole wheat pastry flour for a 100% whole wheat version. With a how-to recipe video

If you love boozy desserts, you also have to try my Irish cream brownies. There’s 3/4 cup of Baileys in there!

And this thing is SO moist. I suppose that’s not too surprising considering the amount of butter that goes into it. In addition to what’s in the cake, you also make a butter rum syrup, poke holes in the cake, and then you pour the syrup all over it.

If a whole bundt cake is too much for you, check out my Irish cream bundt cake. It’s basically this recipe, halved to fit a 6-cup bundt pan, and with Irish cream. Just use rum instead and you’ll have yourself a cute little bundt cake. :)

Totally from Scratch Rum Cake (with a 100% whole grain option)

Rated 4.9 by 28 readers
Rum Cake from Scratch – The Best Ever!
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 12-15 servings



  • 1 3/4 cup (219 grams) all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup (55 grams) dry milk powder (whole milk or fat-free work)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (42 grams) cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (112 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated or raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons (160 milliliters) olive oil (canola oil or another vegetable oil would work, too, but I don't recommend coconut oil)
  • 3/4 cup (177 milliliters) milk
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (177 milliliters) dark rum
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Rum Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup (112 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) water
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated or raw sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) dark rum


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (162°C). Spray a 12-cup bundt pan very well with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, dry milk powder, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Set this aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the dry flour mix to this. It will resemble fine crumbs.
  4. In the bowl that just had the flour mix, whisk together the oil, milk, eggs, rum, and vanilla extract. Add this to the crumb mixture and beat until well combined. The batter will be quite thin.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 48-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. When there are about 15 minutes remaining on the timer, start the butter rum syrup. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter, water, sugar and salt until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the rum (it'll bubble).
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack. Wash and dry the bundt pan and place the cake back into the pan. Poke holes into the cake (I used a meat thermometer to do this) and pour the syrup slowly over the cake. Let soak for 1-2 hours and then invert the cake back onto a serving platter. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.


  • For German bakers: German flour and American all-purpose are not interchangeable but I've had great luck using 50 grams Type 550 and 169 grams Type 405 in this cake. You could also try whole spelt but I think it'd taste a little whole grainy.

Adapted from Rum Cake from Scratch on Always Order Dessert

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This post was originally posted in 2012. Here’s the original picture for kicks and giggles. :D

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274 comments on “Rum Cake from Scratch – The Best Ever!” — Add one!

26 comments are awaiting moderation!

  • Theresa Gaddis says
    January 27, 2024 @ 11:40 pm

    Hi, can I use dry buttermilk powder instead of dry milk powder? I’m not sure if the taste will be off.

    • Erin replies to Theresa Gaddis
      January 28, 2024 @ 8:03 pm

      Hi! I’m sorry to say that I don’t know as I’ve never used it before. To be no the safe, I’d recommend getting some dry milk.

  • Christina
    March 16, 2022 @ 6:40 pm

    Do you think coconut sugar could be subbed for the granulated? I don’t have enough granulated on hand and was hoping to avoid a trip to the store 😅

  • Daphne says
    February 14, 2022 @ 4:10 am

    Hey Erin I stumbled across your Rum cake recipe and my question is does it really make one Boozie?

    • Erin replies to Daphne
      February 14, 2022 @ 3:33 pm

      Hello! Do you mean does it make a really boozy cake (yes!) or does it make you tipsy (I don’t think so)? :)

  • Linda
    September 15, 2021 @ 7:58 am

    Just found this. Thank you!
    I like to put rum-soaked raisins in my rum cakes, and bake them with pecans on top (in the bottom of the pan). I’ll try your great-sounding recipe with these additions soon!!

    • Erin replies to Linda
      September 15, 2021 @ 10:02 am

      That sounds super taasty! I hope it turns out well. I’d love to hear how it goes. :)

  • Baker98 says
    June 19, 2021 @ 1:27 am

    Hello! Did you use a scale or measuring cups to measure the ingredients? And if you used measuring cups, did you spoon flour into the measuring cups or did you just scoop the flour in the measuring cups?

    • Erin replies to Baker98
      June 21, 2021 @ 2:46 pm

      Hello! Sorry for just now seeing this. I used a scale and the measurements given are for when you properly measure flour. So spooning the flour into the measuring cups. :)

  • Christina
    May 22, 2021 @ 1:57 am

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! This recipe is amazing. I’ve been dying to try baking a rum cake but I didn’t want to use cake mix or pudding mix. This is perfect. I subbed Bob’s 1 to 1 baking flour and it worked perfectly!!

  • sandra carballea says
    April 18, 2021 @ 4:21 am


    • Erin replies to sandra carballea
      April 18, 2021 @ 12:36 pm

      I’m afraid not. It’d be best to find a different recipe. Sorry about that!

  • Debra Diner says
    February 27, 2021 @ 5:28 pm

    I want to bake this as a layer cake. Do I need to make any adjustments?

    • Erin replies to Debra Diner
      March 3, 2021 @ 10:53 am

      I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! I wouldn’t recommend making this as a layer cake. Bundt cakes are much denser and heavier than layer cakes. If you want to try it anyway, you’d just need to adjust the baking time, but as I’ve never tried it, I have no idea what that would be. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

  • Patricia says
    February 13, 2021 @ 11:28 pm

    I’m so excited to bake this cake! I was getting the ingredients out to find that I don’t have cornstarch. Do you think I can skip it?

    • Erin replies to Patricia
      February 14, 2021 @ 6:49 am

      6 tablespoons is a lot to omit so I really wouldn’t recommend it. Subbing it with flour might work or might not be good at all. It’s impossible to say without trying it myself. Sorry about that!

  • Ro says
    January 9, 2021 @ 12:59 am

    Just made two for work. At request, I, partially, subbed in rye flour with white flour. It looks amazing. Playing with adfung some smoked caramel to bottom of the plate. TYSVM. So glad I found your post. I thought, I was gonna have to breakdown and buy cake mix. Many thank yous!

    • Erin replies to Ro
      January 12, 2021 @ 6:56 am

      Someone at work requested you add in rye flour? What an interesting request! I’m so glad that it worked. Thanks for the tip! I’d love to hear what happens with the caramel. Thanks a ton for your feedback! I’m glad you liked it.

  • Cassandra says
    January 3, 2021 @ 9:42 pm

    Can you use dry full fat coconut milk?

    • Erin replies to Cassandra
      January 4, 2021 @ 8:57 pm

      I haven’t tried it but I think it’d work!

  • Lami says
    June 19, 2020 @ 4:01 am

    What kind of Rum can you suggest

    • Erin replies to Lami
      June 26, 2020 @ 9:45 am

      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your question! I live in Germany so we have different brands here. The one I usually use isn’t sold in the US but Captain Morgan and Havana Club both have dark rums that work well in this cake. Some people even use spiced rum and like that! Light rum also works. I just prefer dark.

  • Susan Wisecup-Agbedzinu says
    June 11, 2020 @ 8:44 pm

    Why is it necessary to turn the cake out of the pan, wash/dry the pan and then put the cake back into the pan? Seems like an unnecessary step to me.

  • Cheryl
    April 16, 2020 @ 3:04 am

    Erin…. I searched for a while for a cake without pudding and finally tried your recipe. From the first time I made it, I’ve never looked back! I’ve made it several time since I found your recipe a few years ago. My family and I found it delicious, moist and full of flavor. And, will all the booze, it lasts a while during the winter months ;)! I sent it to my sister in law and she asked if she had to use the powdered milk. I explained what it replaced and said “Trust me. You won’t regret it.” You’re brilliant and thank you so much for this recipe. If I could give you 10 hearts for this recipe, you’d have them!!

    • Erin replies to Cheryl
      April 25, 2020 @ 6:49 am

      I’m so glad that you’ve been enjoying this recipe for the last few years! I’m surprised that your cake lasts a while. The two of us eat it up in about a day. ;) We just can’t resist! Thanks for sharing the recipe with your family. I hope your sister-in-law will get the powdered milk to try it out. Thanks for your kind comment and sorry for my slow reply. Things have been crazy!


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